After 14 years of driving small hatchback cars, I made the leap into a compact SUV. I'm a long time Hyundai owner and they never failed me, so I credited Kia with the same reliability. The interior of the sportage looks classy and sleek, even at the base model. I have the 6 speed manual and the pickup is great, you do have to hit 4-5000 rpms for max power but its got some kick. The cargo space fits my surfboard and bike so I'm set. I just had to get used to "more car" and less visibility...but now that I'm comfortable I really like it. I average 23 mph in city driving. I would recommend it to a friend hands down. Did I mention its pretty fast as well.
Features, bluetooth, interior design and sporty/sleek exterior design.
Pick up is good and the car handles well. The electric steering does a great job of provided a weighty feeling at speed, but the car is VERY nimble at lower speeds
A little more cargo space and a larger back window.
I recently bought a 2012 base FWD manual and could not be happier. I wanted the function of a suv with the driving dynamics of a car and didn't want/need to spend a fortune. I also wanted to row the gears myself. After comparisons of all vehicles that met my criteria, I decided on the sportage because of value, comfort, room, and the fun to drive factor. Plenty of storage, plenty of power - great standard features. I have 3000 miles and am very happy with comfort (i'm 6'3), mileage (avg 27 mixed driving) and the fact that i'm always asked about it when i'm out and about. So far, I have no complaints.
Bluetooth, Manual transmission availablility, great suspension setup (good handling with a compliant ride) room and value
Make sliding rear seat and lumbar seats standard across line.
Possibly a higher ratio in 6'th gear on manual for better highway mileage.